Temporal Expertise Profiling

Expertise is not a static concept. Personal interest as well as the landscape of respective fields change over time; knowledge becomes outdated, new topics emerge, and so on.
In recent work, Jan Rybak, Kjetil Nørvåg, and I have been working on capturing, modeling, and characterizing the changes in a person’s expertise over time.

The basic idea that we presented in an ECIR’14 short paper is the following. The expertise of an individual is modelled as a series of profile snapshots. Each profile spanshot is a weighted tree; the hierarchy represents the taxonomy of expertise areas and the weights reflect the person’s knowledge on the corresponding topic. By displaying a series of profile snapshots on a timeline, we can have a complete overview of the development of expertise over time. In addition, we identify and characterize important changes that occur in these profiles. See our colorful poster for an illustration.

In an upcoming SIGIR’14 demo we introduce a web-based system, ExperTime, where we implemented these ideas. While our approach is generic, the system is particular to the computer science domain. Specifically, we use publications from DBLP, classified according to the ACM 1998 Computing Classification System. Jan also created a short video that explains the underlying ideas and introduces the main features of the system:

The next step on our research agenda is the evaluation of temporal expertise profiles. This is a challenging problem for two reasons: (1) the notions of focus and topic changes are subjective and are likely to vary from person to person, and (2) the complexity of the task is beyond the point where TREC-like benchmark evaluations are feasible. The feedback we plan to obtain with the ExperTime system, both implicit and explicit, will provide invaluable information to guide the development of appropriate evaluation methodology.

If you are interested in your temporal expertise profile, you are kindly invited to sign up and claim it. Or, it might already be ready and waiting for you: http://bit.ly/expertime.